Spiritual Laziness

Do you remember a time when you felt lazy? How did you behave? Before we consider spiritual laziness, let us consider the word ‘lazy.’ It is an adjective that describes the state of being unwilling to work or make an effort; to have the ability to act, yet be disinclined to be active; a slow mindset. The Bible uses the word ‘sloth’ to describe a lazy person.

Sloth is laziness or slowness in the mind that involves lack of any felling. It is a MINDSET that leads to boredom, passiveness, apathy or sluggish mentation.

 A Sloth is also the name of a lethargic animal that looks like a monkey. It spends most of its life hanging upside down on trees. It sleeps for about 15-20 hours a day.

Spiritual laziness is an indifferent attitude towards God and the things of the Spirit. It can also be called lukewarmness (a state of being neither hot nor cold in the spirit).

Who prefers their tea served lukewarm?

Titus 1:16

They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him. They are detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good.

Signs of Spiritual Laziness

Complacency (Self-satisfaction) – Feeling satisfied in material possessions and relying on them for sense of fulfillment.

  1. Indifference – Lack of interest or concern in spiritual matters going on around you.
  2. Constant inability to figure out what God wants from you.
  3. Unwilling to commit to any Church duty.
  4. Unwilling to sacrifice comfort or pleasure for God’s activity.
  5. Unpunctuality
  6. Inconsistent worship
  7. Lack of attention in worship (mind wandering in prayers, study, bible reading, singing, communion, etc.)
  8. Little or no personal Bible study
  9. Setting lower standards for self
  10. Presumptuousness – Giving room to accommodate little excesses and expecting God to adjust to human standards. Mark 7:6-9

He replied, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: ” ’These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.’ You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions.” And he continued, “You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions!

  1. Little or no personal prayer time or fasting
  2. Preference for inappropriate leisure engagements (TV programs or media)

Spiritual laziness is in place when you go to church just to get by because that is what Christians do. Worship to such person is basically a means to identify with a religious sect. That is why, anything barely excites them in church. They may come without a Bible or come with one but barely open it till the close of worship. They are not interested in jotting anything for reference. They join others to sing without paying attention to the lyrics (content of the song). Before Ephesians 5:19 talked about making melody in your hearts, it said ‘speak to one another’.

Danger of Spiritual Laziness

  • Lazy persons cannot achieve anything meaningful in life. Lukewarmness is especially dangerous for a Christian because at such state, one has a feeling of satisfaction. They believe they are doing just fine spiritually when in fact, they are not. This was why God was very upset with the Laodicea congregation in


To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm —neither hot nor cold —I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, ’I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.

They believed they were wealthy but before God they were wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked. The members of this Church believed they were alright, not knowing they were in fact very sick. Those who acknowledge their state of health would readily seek help but those who do not will remain in that state and gradually slide into death. A lot of persons lost their lives to cancer because they only detected it when it was too late. By then, the tumor has likely consumed vital cells in the body beyond revival.

Jesus said he didn’t come for those who were healthy but those who are sick (Mark 2:17). He was addressing the self-righteous Pharisees who thought they were doing just fine. He rather focused on unbelievers who readily accepted that they needed help. This is why the Bible says it is hard for a person who has tasted the truth and falls back to be restored.

2 Peter 2:20-22.

 If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and are overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them. Of them the proverbs are true: “A dog returns to its vomit,” and, “A sow that is washed returns to her wallowing in the mud.”

The Spirit while addressing the Laodicea brethren said something similar; it would have been better if they were either hot or cold.

  • Spiritual laziness is the beginning of backsliding.

Backsliding is a gradual process of falling back into pre-conversion lifestyles after conversion into the faith. It usually begins when the believer is in the state of lukewarmness. The passion for the faith gradually fizzles out and their love for God or godly affairs grow cold as described in Matthew 24:12 and 1 Timothy 4: 1-2)

  • It makes one a stumbling block to others.

You may have heard people condemn Christianity because of the attitude of Christians. In Mahatma Gandhi’s words, he said “I like your Christ, but not your Christianity.” Unbelievers may speak ill of the Christian faith because of the attitude they see in people who profess to be Christians but in reality are not practicing Christianity. They bring reproach to Christ and it is a grievous offence. That explains God’s anger when He said He would rather have them cold than being lukewarm. “He who is already on the ground need not fear of falling” right? Those who are known to be unbelievers would never tarnish the image of Christianity no matter what they do because no one looks up to them with expectations of a Christ-like conduct, unlike those who choose to bear the name, yet continue to live in their former lifestyle before they met Christ.

So the fate of the lukewarm Christian is like that of the Pharisees. They won’t enter the kingdom and they would prevent others from coming in (Matthew 23:13). It would be better they relinquish the label of Christianity and fall alone instead of dragging others with them. The soul of every man cost Jesus his own life so he values every soul willing to identify with him. If your lethargic conduct cost Jesus one of those souls, you are only creating more problem and woe betides such person.

Matthew 18: 6-7

 “If anyone causes one of these little ones —those who believe in me —to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to stumble! Such things must come, but woe to the person through whom they come!”

  • It places one in danger of eternal condemnation.

Nothing can be as painful as loosing from both ends as described in Matthew 7:21-23

“Not everyone who says to me, ’Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ’Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ’I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

Having considered the signs and dangers of spiritual laziness, in my next post I will drop the concluding part of this article. It will cover the causes of spiritual laziness and how to get over it. Don’t miss it. 

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